Mastery Based Grading - Draper Park Middle School

Mastery-Based Grading
Over the past few years, Draper Park Middle School has
transitioned to a mastery-based grading model, wherein
students are assigned letter grades that more accurately reflect
each student’s level of concept mastery in a given subject, i.e.,
math, science, ELA, etc. Essentially, this means that earned
grades are based mostly on a student’s performance on
summative assessments. In a pure mastery-based grading
system, homework and practice are not included in a student’s
overall grade because homework and practice are part of the
process of gaining knowledge and not the possession of
knowledge itself.
It is understood, however, that classwork, practice, and
homework are necessary elements of high academic
achievement and are very important and indeed crucial to a
student’s success in school. Teachers do expect their students
to work rigorously and meaningfully on assigned activities,
classwork, practice, and homework in an effort to master
important concepts. It is unlikely that a student will achieve
maximum academic success without wholly engaging the
curriculum both in the classroom and at home.
At DPMS summative assessments in the form of quizzes, tests,
and comprehensive exams will account for 90%, or more, of a
student’s course grade. Follow this link to learn more about
standards/mastery based grading.
In a mastery-based grading model, a student’s grade is a true
representation of what a student actually knows and
At DPMS, we are laser focused on the end product—how the
student has mastered the stated learning objectives.
Homework assignments and skills practice become meaningful
opportunities for students to learn and master concepts, but it
is the formative and summative assessments that inform
educators as to whether or not a student has indeed mastered
a concept. We do not grade based on a student’s personal
struggle to gain knowledge (i.e, homework, practice, research,
study, etc.), rather we grade based on a student’s level of
concept mastery as demonstrated and proved through a series
of assessments, which ensure the fidelity of achievement data,
and therefore provide an accurate representation of a students
Mastery learning is a data driven process wherein teachers
continually evaluate student achievement data to inform and
adjust their instruction along the way to more effectively
accommodate the learning needs of their students. The goal, of
course, is to ensure all students meet their full learning
potential by increasing their depth of knowledge and
understanding. This requires teachers to create specific and
strategically crafted lesson plans that wholly engage the
learner, provide learners with opportunities to respond, and
provide meaningful feedback within instructional cycles.